In just six days in the summer of 1967, Israel defeated the Arab armies that threatened her existence from all sides, at last reclaiming Jerusalem's Old City and achieving borders the Israeli military could defend. At the same time, the Jewish state showed its commitment to coexistence with its neighbors - a commitment Israel continues to this day. Our friends at JerusalemU and The Jerusalem Post explain Israel's complicated victory:
The war was over. A battle for survival had ended with an overwhelming Israeli victory. In just six days, Israel pushed back the Arab armies that threatened its existence, and achieved defensible borders.
In the war, Israel captured Eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank, also known by the Biblical names Judea and Samaria, which held deep religious meaning. The West Bank was the birthplace of the Jewish people and had maintained a continuous Jewish presence for 3,000 years, until 1948.
This was significant. In 1948, Jordan captured these lands and expelled all Jews from Eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City of Jerusalem, and the West Bank. For 19 years, Jews were not allowed to access the Western Wall or other Jewish holy sites. Israel’s victory meant a reunited Jerusalem and free access to holy sites for all religions.
Along with land, Israel found itself in control of a population it had no intention of governing before the war. Hundreds of thousands of Arab residents were now under Israeli jurisdiction in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel also controlled the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, but also the site of a sacred Muslim mosque and shrine.
To show its commitment to coexistence, and in an attempt to avoid future violence, Israel made an unprecedented and controversial move...